Logic and evolution (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, July 03, 2016, 11:50 (563 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I have commented on your comment on complexity in my summary above. In the context of evolution, your being a believer is irrelevant, since my alternative hypothesis allows for belief. Creationists are also believers, but you reject their belief. There are countless theories about how we got here, and that is the whole point of this forum - we discuss the pros and cons of the different hypotheses.DAVID: My belief is not irrelevant.

I am talking about your belief in God. This discussion concerns different interpretations of how your God works with evolution.

DAVID: God is in control, and my venturing into debate with you has been to tease out possible explanations of God's way of doing things. You have a theistic approach in your agnosticism that tries to introduce a degree of independence from God in the mechanisms at work, but initiated by God. How much control does God give up, if any? My view still is not much, if any. Since you seem to have rejected chance development from inorganic Earth to living creatures and plants on Earth, how can you reject the need for a planning mind to create the design we see? That was the step I took to assume my current stance as I left agnosticism. I cannot see a third way. Do you?

You begin by correctly identifying the difference in our theistic evolutionary hypotheses (i.e. the degree of God's control), but then suddenly you shift the focus from how God works to whether he exists, as if somehow this justifies your belief in his total control of the process! Our discussion on how evolution works allows for the existence of a “planning mind” and revolves around different interpretations of its plans.

Bbella: David, even if you are completely correct about there being an all powerful, planning mind (God) that has created all we see, why assume that anything is ever out of his/it's control? Couldn't another possible explanation for saltation be, that it too is part of the plan?
DAVID: Briefly, yes. I don't know that God programmed everything from the beginning. I believe He may step in from time to time to correct the course. The understanding that everything is seen to evolve, i.e. both the universe and life, means to me that evolution is the process God uses, which means he has to keep an eye on what is evolving.

If God exists, and if you believe in evolution, then obviously you believe that evolution is the process that God uses. That does not mean that God chooses to control every step of evolution. It may be that God has chosen to give his organisms the means to organize their own evolution, through adaptation and innovation in accordance with changing conditions, though he can still “keep an eye on what is evolving”. You believe that God has given up control of how humans conduct their lives (free will), but all other organisms have apparently been either preprogrammed or divinely “guided” or “helped” (i.e. dabbled with) to work out their lifestyles and perform their wonders. If he is prepared to give up control in the one context, why should he not be prepared to give up control in the other? In both cases, he might do so out of curiosity - to see what these autonomous mechanisms will produce. That is another way in which he can “keep an eye on what is evolving”.

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